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Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 21:18 GMT
Bid to reach autistic minorities
A bid to reach out to people with autism from ethnic minorities will be held in Birmingham on Thursday.

The National Autistic Society (NAS) and the Afiya Trust want to bring together families affected by autism and the professionals who support them.

Councillor John Hood, the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, will give an address.

The NAS has found the uptake of its services does not reflect the city's ethnic mix of the population, and the conference aims to tackle this issue.

Parents and carers will be able to put their views to professionals from education, health and social services.

'Very little research'

They will be able to explain what their needs are and any barriers that they may have to taking up services.

Professionals who support those with autism will be able to learn more about the cultural needs of diverse communities and explain what help is available.

Prithvi Perepa, NAS development officer, said: "There is very little research about autism and its effects on minority ethnic families.

"Since the beginning of the project we have managed to accumulate more information about its effects on these families, and the issues they face in accessing services."

NAS said it is characterised by difficulties forming social relationships, communication problems and the development of strong narrow obsessional interests.

It said 535,000 people have autism in the UK and two million people are affected by the disability.

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